Boost Drinks: fulfilling its role as champion of independents

Boost Drinks has focused on independents since its formation, and in a changing landscape its commitment hasn’t changed, reports sales director Al Gunn (pictured).

What proportion of your business goes through the cash & carry/delivered wholesale trade?

Since Boost Drinks was established in 2001, we have always focused on championing independent retailers. We do not serve the big five supermarkets or two leading discounters. As a result, the majority of our business goes through the cash & carry and delivered wholesale trade. We have always tried to ensure our consumers enjoy great tasting products at a great retail price, whilst critically understanding and delivering against retailer and wholesaler needs for rate of sale, margin and growth. This has been, for me, a major enabler to our success.

How are you looking to develop your business through the wholesale trade?

Boost Drinks will continue to deliver a compelling product proposition. In 2018 this will be backed by our biggest ever above and below-the-line consumer and trade marketing support, which will include offer packs for the trade and on-pack activity for consumers.

This is complemented by the way our business takes insight-driven data to drive actionable joint business plans with our customers. These are focused on maximising commercial opportunities for both parties.

In recent years, we have also been very successful in developing wider and stronger relationships with our retailers, both within the core independent sector and multiple forecourt and convenience store operators. We really see getting even closer to all our retail partners as key to driving growth – by closing gaps in retail distribution and in turn driving new retailers into wholesalers.

How much does the weather affect sales of your energy drinks compared to standard soft drinks?

The stimulation energy category is relatively lightly impacted by weather, and with Boost Energy we are mainly meeting consumer needs for a pick-me-up. That said, in warm weather we have seen continuing growth both of our sugar-free & flavours ranges as consumers look for choice and of our 500ml Boost Sport products – last year, in hot periods, we saw volumes up to six times the average demand. In fact, the Boost Sport range has enjoyed a 30% rise in sales since it was relaunched in March 2017 – it flies off the shelves all year round.

How can cash & carries improve their sales of energy drinks, regardless of the weather?

Sports & energy drinks make up a third of the total soft drinks market. We see the high focus factors as supporting a core range of the top selling products, offering retailers the right range, with the right space at a competitive price, signposted and supported with a comprehensive promotion and marketing plan with great availability.

Ideally, secondary siting through pallet displays and tower ends will drive strong results, as will proactiveness on upselling by the depot teams when the strongest deals are available. This will not only help cash & carries manage their tail but also encourage retailers to do the same.

A good promotion should be simple to understand and drive footfall, as well as creating genuine excitement in depot plus loyalty for the wholesaler. Ideally it should also dovetail with suppliers’ marketing campaigns to maximise overall business objectives. Cash & carries should avoid duplicating products from the same sub-category and use PoS that educates the retailer about the category and the promotional opportunity, especially when it’s NPD.

Finally, it is also critical to ensure that the margins work for all parties.

Similarly, what more can delivered wholesalers do to increase their sales of energy drinks?

It’s the same message really, although instead of space we suggest the focus is on maximising feature. Sometimes, the delivered wholesalers’ point of difference can be a suitable range and activities for their own geography and demographic profile, with clear execution and focus on the retailer/consumer benefits, while avoiding the promotion of all products in a category at the same time.

How will the forthcoming sugar tax affect your business?

Over the past two years we’ve been working on new lower sugar recipes for our full sugar stimulation range and have taken them into extensive nationwide consumer tasting. We can confirm that we will be taking sugar levels down to 4.9g per 100ml – below the levy – and that trade pricing and retail prices will remain the same. Also, our future energy NPD will be low sugar or sugar-free.

Can you share any news relating to new product launches?

March will see the introduction of our first ever ‘12 for the price of 10’ packs on Boost Original one-litre and 500ml. We also have an exciting new product launch in April with sugar-free Punch Power, and we are planning a special limited-edition 250ml can for the autumn – so watch this space!

Tel: Boost Drinks (0113) 240 3666

Published Date: January 11, 2018
Category: Meet the Manufacturer